After a man turned himself into police for refusing to pay for his meal, some wondered if he might be mentally ill. On the other hand, some suspect he might be saner than many in Japan.
Workers in Japan are often perceived by the rest of the world as possessing an extremely strong work ethic, which drives them to daily acts of unpaid overtime, selfless sacrifice of rightfully accrued holiday time, and occasionally even to karoushi, or death by overwork. So pervasive is this perception that the image of the exhausted salaryman splayed out across train carriage floors after a hard day’s work has become a sort of unofficial symbol of Japanese working life.
But what people who have actually worked in Japanese offices will tell you is that, while simply existing in the strict hierarchical system of a Japanese workplace can be an exhausting feat in and of itself, it doesn’t necessarily mean that everybody’s getting loads of work done. In fact, Japanese workers may be just as lazy as the rest of us. So how come everybody still thinks they work so hard?
The Japanese work environment might qualify as a something of a business paradise because Japanese workers so rarely take a day off. They are instead known to put in tons of free overtime and often don’t use “sick leave“. There is even a word in Japanese for “death from overwork”: karoshi.
Despite the health risks, many won’t take the day off if they are feeling a little under the weather. But what do Japanese people consider “a little sick” and “really sick”? A survey was conducted aiming to answer that question. Do their answers line up with your own, or would you file them away under “only in Japan”?
In Japan, black suits are as ubiquitous with salarymen as uniforms are with high school students. Usually, though, the look is pretty unremarkable: black suit, white shirt, subdued tie, black shoes, black belts…and the same thing every day. Suit and menswear chain Aoyama, however, is looking to not only spice up the old suit look, but also help salarymen channel their inner space alien superhero (or villain).
For their 50th anniversary, Aoyama has collaborated with the Ultraman franchise to create a line of Ultraman neckties. In an announcement from Tsuburaya Productions, the company that produced the original Ultraman TV series in 1966, it was revealed that there will be eighteen unique Ultraman inspired designs available for a limited time.
It’s a stereotype about Japan that most people are familiar with – the Japanese work hard, give their lives to the company, and stay at work until after the boss has gone home. It’s a country where karoushi, or death from overwork, is a commonly-used buzzword. While some people might argue that the Japanese don’t actually work any harder than those in the west, it certainly seems that they’re working longer hours than the rest of us.
But as a consequence, how much sleep are they getting?
With many different unwritten rules and an emphasis on customer service, it can sometimes be difficult for foreigners to assimilate into Japanese work culture. Steve over at YouTube channel Steve’s POV スティーブ的視点 put together a video that showcases just how different Japanese and American workers can be. But is it accurate to depict the Japanese salaryman as hardworking, diligent and impossibly polite and the American salesman as comparatively rude, rushed, and sloppy? Take a look at the video and decide for yourself.
The E3 video game trade show is now just a couple of weeks away, and gamers the world over are getting excited. Will Rockstar Games come clean about its next project? Will Sony announce a launch date and pricing info for its new streaming service? Will the guys from Valve surprise us all by walking on stage, saying: “Episode 3. November 1,” and dropping the mic? Maybe not, but it’s fun to dream, right?
Sure, we all want to hear news of the games that have been teased over the past few months, but wouldn’t it be fun if a few more games came completely out of left field and blew us all away? With that in mind, we set our creative minds to work and came up with five video games that we wish existed, but are quite sure – perhaps for good reason – will never, ever happen.
“Salaryman” is the Japanese term that refers to an office worker in Japan. No matter the company, the term is all-encompassing because every salaryman’s situation is the same. While maybe not known to the rest of the world, they are characterized as employees who work overtime, are highly obedient and can often be found binge drinking with colleagues and clients, whether they genuinely want to be there or not.
Leave it to the Japanese netizens, though, to so succinctly air the problems of life as a salaryman in comic form, taking us into the realms of “it’s funny because, sadly, it’s true.”
In Japan, husbands often hand over their pay packets to their wives, who are the chief financial controllers for the household. Husbands then receive a fraction of their pay in the form of a monthly allowance, which has to cover costs such as cell phone charges, lunches and all-important networking and relations-building nomikai, or work drinking parties.
According to a survey by Shinsei Bank, the average office worker receives an allowance of 39,600 yen (US$398) a month. But when the average cost for attending a drinking party is 2,860 yen ($28.75), and one lunch is an average of 510 yen ($5.13) a day, many workers are now choosing to skip out on after work drinks. What they don’t realise is that this attempt to save some yen is actually jeopardising their careers.
We all have co-workers who make us uncomfortable. A recent article on the website of popular Japanese tabloid magazine Spa included some stories about male co-workers that are too creepy to be true—at least, we hope. We thought we’d share them with you, because honestly, if these stories are true, they’re too scary to laugh…